Life in the 21st Century is all about choice. And, wherever you look, there’s plenty of it. Some would say there is almost too much choice. For example if you really considered all the options available to you for lunch, you would most likely still be looking through the range of choices by dinner time, the next day! I for one like choice, but that doesn’t mean to say that I will always exercise my right to choice. If I’m out and about, between choir rehearsals for example, I will often find myself in a Waitrose (other supermarkets are apparently available!) in search of a sandwich for lunch. Invariably when this occurs I scan the shelves for rare beef and horseradish and then make my way to the tills, pay and leave. Of course had I given this whole business more consideration I’m quite sure there are other, some would say more interesting, choices for lunch, even just amongst the selection of sandwiches.
I freely admit that I’m just as bad when it comes to elevenses. If I find myself out and about in the morning I will usually find a suitable venue to serve coffee. Nowadays, even the most dismal coffee shop will serve you a whole range of different coffee blends from either Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala or Kenya to name but a few. Then it’s a case of how you want it made and that’s never as simple as black or white because there are different types of milk, and not all milk comes from cows! Me? I just walk in and order a latte – simple as! I’m not too worried what sort of coffee or what sort of milk.
It’s the same with choirs. Nowadays you can’t just join “a choir’. What sort of choir do you want to sing in? Do you want to learn traditional music, do you want to sing by ear, do you want to sing with accompaniment or without? What about Gospel or Folk? Do you like Sacred music or Secular? Then consider the other members; do you want to be part of a mixed choir or a choir which is specifically for Upper or Lower voices? When it comes to the music your choir will sing, sometimes it’s a different story.
I always welcome input from my choir members and for each choir I run, I have a list of songs which have been suggested. When I choose new music, where possible I always try to include at least some from this list. For a start that means at least 1 person in the choir will like the new song. But, it’s not just about that, it’s about making people feel included. If you know there’s a chance of your favourite song being included at some point, that’s just one reason to stay in a choir.
Sometimes of course, a song might come along which you really don’t like. Realistically that’s going to happen regardless of which choir you choose to join. Music is subjective – we all like different things – that’s what makes it great! So what do you do about it? I’m certainly not suggesting a mass uprising from 1 or 2 choir members every time a new song comes along you don’t like. Ultimately of course if there are lots of songs you don’t like then perhaps you’re not in the right choir. But if, on the whole, it’s just the odd song then try looking at it differently. Why don’t you like it? Is it just the way you have heard someone else perform it perhaps? If so, give it a chance, maybe with the choir singing it, it will sound better, or at least different. Rather than view the song as a whole, focus on your part, look for interesting and nice lines within your part and focus on those.
If you’ve tried all this and still don’t like the song, well how bad can it be? It’s just one song. Providing there are others you like singing, theres a good chance you will be working on a few songs at any given moment. Give it a go, you never know, you might surprise yourself and enjoy it!